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A Syrian migrant with known Islamic State sympathies who was intercepted at the German-Danish border with materials for making explosives will be charged with plotting a terror attack – but only after spending six months in custody as authorities claimed they had difficulty bringing charges against him.
The 20-year-old Syrian, who attempted to cross the border with 17,000 matches, radio equipment, and an ignition device, has been in custody since November 2016. German prosecutors have announced the asylum seeker, who has been known as a radical Islamist to German authorities as far back as 2015, will be put on trial in Stuttgart, the Associated Press reports.
Initially, the man has attempted to cross the northern German border and was caught by German police who suspected him of plotting a terror attack. Despite this, the materials, known to be used for constructing detonators in various instructions of Islamic terrorists, were confiscated and the Syrian was let go by the police.
Shortly after, he boarded a train and headed back to an asylum home in Ulm where he lived. Days later, the German police showed up at the asylum home and arrested him for plotting a terrorist attack.
At the time, prosecutors were doubtful they would be able to pursue charges against the Syrian with prosecutor Jan Holzner saying: “We cannot prosecute him on matches alone.”
Since the beginning of the migrant crisis in 2015, there have been many arrests of asylum seekers plotting terrorist attacks in Germany.
In February of 2016, two Algerian asylum seekers were arrested after police suspected they were plotting a terror attack in Berlin. The pair both lived in asylum centres.
Later in July, four Syrian asylum seekers were taken into custody in Dusseldorf where police say they were plotting a similar attack to the November 2015 Bataclan massacre in Paris.
Germany had its first suicide bombing, carried out by a young Syrian asylum seeker, in the same month. The young migrant attempted to carry out the attack in a crowded music festival, but after being denied entry he detonated himself outside a bar injuring a dozen people.
In December, Germany had its first major terrorist attack after failed Tunisian asylum seeker Anis Amri hijacked a truck and used it to killing 12 and injuring 56 at Berlin’s annual Christmas market.
Earlier this year, a survey found that two-thirds of Germans feared they were at risk of being involved in a terrorist attack. The study, published by German legal expenses insurance group ROLAND, said: “A large part of the population doesn’t feel safe anymore when visiting crowded places. The fear of becoming the victim of a terrorist attack with a high number of casualties is considerable.”
Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at firstname.lastname@example.org